Wanta Cited in Southwest Journal Article on Tip Pooling

June 1, 2018 – This week, firm partner Shawn Wanta was cited in the Southwest Journal concerning the recent tip pooling class action settlement against Minneapolis-based Surly Brewing Company. The lawsuit, brought by servers and bartenders of the brewer, alleged that Surly had unlawfully made tip pooling mandatory among servers, retained the tips and redistributed the them to non-server staff, including to hosts, food runners and bar backs, rather than allowing the tips to remain with those who provide direct service to customers. The judge in the case found that Surly’s actions violated the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act and approved a $2.5 million settlement to be distributed among the 148 servers and bartenders that participated in the lawsuit.

In the article, entitled “Surly Tip-Pooling Settlement Has a Ripple Effect,” Wanta, who represents employees in tip pooling cases and leads Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP’s class and complex litigation practice group, noted the recent rise in inquiries to the firm concerning tip pooling, particularly among workers in newer restaurants trying to create new tip sharing models. The article further noted that, as a result of this and other recent lawsuits, servers are feeling more empowered to bring their concerns about these unlawful practices directly to employers.

These recent Minnesota lawsuits include a $1.2 million tip pooling settlement against Outback Steakhouse in 2011 and a 2013 lawsuit settlement against Pinstripes. Another tip sharing case involving The Copper Hen Cakery was filed in 2017 and is still pending in the courts.

Employers Are Prohibited from Requiring Tip Pooling

Under the Minnesota’s Fair Labor Standards Act, gratuities are the sole property of employees who provide direct service to customers. Direct service providers cannot be compelled to share tips with indirect service providers, including hosts, cooks, dishwashers, and bus people, among others. However, employees may voluntarily agree to share tips, so long as it is without employer participation or coercion.

For more information on tip pooling and the rights of employees, click here: https://www.baillonthome.com/blog/tip-sharing-pooling-and-credits-employee-rights-minnesota

Contact Our Minnesota Employment Lawyers
Minnesota employees cannot be forced into tip pooling or tip sharing. Employees who are required by their employers to pool tips may be entitled to claims for damages. If your employer is requiring you to share tips, or if you have questions about tip pooling, the attorneys at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP want to hear from you. Contact our wage and hour lawyers by clicking here or calling us at 612-252-3570.